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  1. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART XI Robert Garcia entered a small pub in Venice, Italy. His cell phone rang. “Hey Ryo, what’s going on?.... yeah I’m in Venice for that meeting that we talked about.... who did King lose to?†Robert took a seat in a corner booth. “...some tomboy named Leo Kliesen?... Can’t say I’ve ever heard of her. King must be down on herself. Wasn’t she in training to take on Sagat? Probably not the momentum boost she was hoping for..†(REF: LEO KLIESEN VS. KING (ART OF FIGHTING)) Robert’s eyes went to the pub’s door as a man and woman entered in. “Ryo, I have to let you go. Benimaru and Athena just arrived,†Robert informed. He hung up his cell phone and greeted Benimaru and Athena Asamiya with smiles as they sat down in the booth across from him. “This better be very important, Robert,†said Athena. “It was a very long flight, and I might get irritable if I’m not here for a good reason.†“You are here for a good reason, trust me,†said Robert. “Would either of you care for a drink?†“I want to know why you asked us to meet you half way across the globe,†said Benimaru. “It’s hard to hold a meeting with a world famous model and a female pop star without attracting some unwanted attention,†Robert explained. “I figure that a small pub in Venice is the last place anyone would look for either of you. Not to mention it’s probably the closest thing I could find to a mid point where we would all travel the same distance. Must be fair.†“Still waiting for a reason as to why we are here,†said Benimaru. “To settle our differences,†Robert answered. “I was not aware there was any tension between us,†Athena remarked. “Not in the traditional sense, no. Both of your teams, the Psycho Soldiers and the Japan Team have always been at the very least cordial with the Sakazakis and myself. But we are always so concerned with winning the King of Fighters tournament that we leave ourselves vulnerable to the Orochis and NESTS of the world,†explained Robert. “What are you saying?†asked Benimaru. “I’m saying we could accomplish a lot of good if we combined our forces.†A small smile appeared on Robert’s face. “Of course I’m not suggesting we would totally stop competing against each other to see who is the best, just a rearranging of priorities.†Athena thought it over. “It’s an interesting proposition.†Before Benimaru could speak, blue smoke suddenly engulfed their booth. Athena‘s eyes widened. “What is going on here? Robert?†“It’s not me,†insisted Robert. A lone figure stepped out of the smoke. It was the Italian fortune teller, Rose. Benimaru stood up and stepped into his fighting stance, “What is your business here?†“I mean you no harm,†said Rose. “My name is Rose and fate has smiled upon me by bringing you all here in my city just when I need help the most.†“Help? With what?†asked Athena. “It is a long story.†Rose looked over to Athena. “You have the ability to read minds do you not? Perhaps it would be quicker if you just scanned through mine.†The request caught Athena off gaurd. “How do you know that?†“All will be explained eventually, but we are short on time. Viola will regain consciousness soon, and we don’t want that,†said Rose. “Who is Viola?†asked Robert. Rose ignored him and implored Athena. “So please proceed with my blessing.†“Ok.†Athena used her telepathic abilities on a willing Rose and saw images of the cursed sword Soul Edge, of the Azure Knight, Nightmare, of Shadoloo, MIST, G Corporation, and the Mishima Zaibatsu, of M. Bison, Victor Donovan, Kazuya Mishima, and Jin Kazama. She saw images of warriors from different places and different times clashing in deadly battle. She saw images of the world plunged into darkness and the rivers flowing with blood. Athena gasped. “What horrible and horrific things you have seen.†“It is a possible future that I am trying all in my power to avert. But as you saw, there are many sides to this battle and many different scenarios that still end in disaster for this world,†said Rose. “I can not win this fight by myself and I can not win it fighting all sides at once.†“And Viola?†“She was one of the last people to see that cursed sword the last time it was unearthed. They thought they were helping to permanently rid the world of the sword by taking shards of it into themselves all those years ago. But, in reality, the sword was simply ensuring its own survival and manipulating them for an event such as this,†explained Rose. (REF: ROSE VS. VIOLA) “I’m feeling a little left out here,†said Robert. “Not to mention a little lost,†added Benimaru. Athena looked over to Robert. “You were just talking about joining forces. I think we may have found our first common goal.†“Which is what?†said Robert, with annoyance creeping into his voice. “Robert Garcia, I apologize for the vagueness, but it is simply a consequence of our time restraints I assure you. I require your private jet so that I may travel the globe quickly to find others to help in this cause. Specifically my friend Guy, the warrior Ryu, and the astrologist Zafina. Her knowledge of ancient evil and her recent history with the cursed Mishima bloodline would be most helpful. If you would be so kind to fly me to these locations, I will explain everything along the way.†“How do you know my name?†Robert glanced over to Athena. “Are you sure she is on the level?†Athena nodded. “Her mind is pure. She seems to be motivated only by her mission.†“Well okay then. Let’s do this,†said Robert. “Athena, I need you to find a place to lock up Viola so that she does not further complicate matters,†Rose instructed. “Will do,†Athena replied. “And what about me?†asked Benimaru. “Viola has a traveling companion who will undoubtedly be here shortly looking for her. I can’t concentrate on the tasks ahead if I have to worry about him coming at me from behind,†Rose began. “You need me to take him down?†“Yes. I have left some clues behind that should lead him to this place. Beware, in my visions I can’t quite make out his face, but I can make out an illuminated mystical lupine beast standing by his side. Be ready for anything.†“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be ready. It takes a lot more than a glowing werewolf to scare me,†Benimaru insisted. Electric sparks fired from his fingertips. “I can do a little illuminating of my own.†“I thank you. And for all our sakes, I wish you good luck,†said Rose. Rose motioned to Robert with her eyes and he nodded. The two walked toward the exit together. Athena followed behind them. “Hey Athena,†Benimaru called. “Can you hang back for a second?†Athena walked back toward Benimaru. “Can you tell me what you saw in that fortune teller’s mind, so I can understand what exactly it is you got us into,†he said. “I’ll do my best. When I’m done you should probably contact Kyo and the others and let them know what is going on. I’m sure they will want to help.†---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Z.W.E.I. traveled to Italy immediately after he read Viola’s letter. He worried about his friend. The world had changed so much since they had made their fateful decision. They had spent most of their years away from civilization and he was not sure how she would handle the new world. Or how he would, for that matter. It took him several days to find some people who had heard of Rose the fortune teller. But, once he did he was given the address to her shop. Z.W.E.I.’s pulse quickened as he entered Rose’s shop, unsure of what he would find. The anxiousness turned into anger when all he could find in the empty shop was Viola’s hood on the floor. Z.W.E.I. knew she would never travel without it. Something had happened to Viola, he was sure of it. Z.W.E.I. returned to the same people who had given him Rose’s address and demanded to know another place where she could be found. The Italian shop keepers did not trust his look and feigned ignorance. Then they cowered in fear when Z.W.E.I. summoned E.I.N. in his frustrated rage. Finally, an older man mentioned a pub that she was known to frequent. “I should make you taste the end of my blade for costing me precious time with your stubbornness,†Z.W.E.I. proclaimed. “But, it is reserved for whoever has taken Viola.†Soon after, Z.W.E.I. pushed open the doors of the pub and shouted, “Where can I find Rose? I demand to know. Is she here?†Benimaru stood up from the bar and turned to face him. “You must be the guy I’m waiting for. The one with the scary glowing lupine creature. Unless, of course, you’re just some poor sap who didn’t like the fortune he was given.†“What? I didn’t catch all that,†said Z.W.E.I. “I asked, where is Rose?†Z.W.E.I. summoned E.I.N. by his side. Patrons of the pub scattered in fear. “Yeah, you’re definitely the guy.â€
  2. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART X Zack landed his helicopter on the Freedom Survivor ship with Eliot and Brad Wong on board. “I hope Master Gen Fu is okay while we’re gone. I think he should have came with us,†said Eliot. “He will be fine, Eliot. Besides, It was his choice to say behind,†said Wong. “You’re right of course.†Zack opened his helicopter doors. “We’re here gentlemen. Wolf, Tina and Bass Armstrong should be below deck. There is plenty of food if you’re hungry. I just need to round up a few more people and we will get down to business.†Eliot and Brad Wong exited the helicopter. “Let me show you around,†offered Kokoro. She turned her attention to Zack, “I’ll be right back.†After a short time, Kokoro returned to the helicopter. “Where to now, captain?†she asked. “I was thinking about picking up Jann Lee. Apparently he’s making a movie out in California..†said Zack. “A movie? Really? How exciting,†Kokoro remarked. “That’s what I’ve heard. But, I’m not sure if I can convince him by myself,†Zack stated. “I think we will need to get Hitomi first to help with the persuasion.†“Where is she at?†wondered Kokoro. “At an international karate tournament,†Zack answered. Zack started the helicopter engine and they elevated above the Freedom Survivor. After a few moments of hesitation Kokoro asked, “Zack, is it just me or are you avoiding going to talk to Ryu Hayabusa and Hayate?†Zack pretended to not to be able to hear her. “I’m sorry baby, I can’t hear you with the engine on.†Kokoro sighed. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Zack and Kokoro walked through the large auditorium unable to locate Hitomi. Kokoro read through the karate tournament pamphlet. “I don’t see Hitomi’s name on here anywhere. Are you sure she is here?†Confusion spread across Zack‘s face. “Tina told me Hitomi sent her an invitation to this thing.†“That would only make sense if she were here. Tina doesn’t use karate,†Kokoro reasoned. “That’s what I was thinking.†Zack grabbed the pamphlet. “Maybe she didn’t make the cut.†Kokoro gave Zack an incredulous look. Zack shrugged. “Hey guys!†called a voice in the distance. Kokoro and Zack turned around to see a smiling Hitomi. “What are you two doing here?†asked Hitomi. “We’re here to recruit you. We need your help,†said Zack. Kokoro pointed at the pamphlet. “Why aren’t you on here?†“Oh, I’m not competing today. I just came to watch. I realized that I spend so much time fighting, that I don’t even get to enjoy watching karate anymore,†Hitomi explained. “But to be honest, I think I made a mistake. Watching it just makes me want to go out there and fight. There are some strong martial artists here that I would love to spare with.†“Well according to Helena, there will be plenty of strong martial artists for you to fight once you come with us,†said Kokoro. “Another Dead or Alive tournament?†asked Hitomi. “Not exactly. I’ll explain it on the way,†said Zack. “Oh no. I can’t leave now. The finals are about to start. I’ve been here all day, it would be such a disappointment to miss the end,†said Hitomi. “We’re on a tight schedule here,†said Zack. “It won’t be that long and then I promise I will go with you. You guys should come sit with me and watch. It’s a fascinating match up and it should be an excellent fight.†Zack rolled his eyes and finally relented. “Why do I have the feeling this is going to be a constant problem with gathering everyone? You ladies need to find some hobbies outside of fighting." Zack and Kokoro followed Hitomi to her seat and sat next to her. Hitomi filled Kokoro in on the two finals competitors. “The girl on the left is Makoto. It has been so exciting watching her go today. She is a practitioner of Rindoukan Karate from a small dojo in the Tosa region of Japan. Kokoro, it’s been like watching a female version of the Karate Kid movie. Since she is from a small unknown dojo nobody gave her a chance to even get past the first round, but she has been blowing away the competition,†Hitomi announced with enthusiasm. “Although if she is Daniel Larusso that would make her opponent that kid from the Cobra Kai which doesn’t really fit. Sure, Yuri Sakazaki is a student of the famous Kyokugenryu Karate dojo, but that dojo is mostly famous because of her dad and brother, Ryo. She is something of an underdog herself, oh and so friendly. They are both strong young women with something to prove. What could be better than that?†Kokoro tapped Zack on the shoulder. “When it’s done maybe we should ask the winner to come with us and Hitomi.†Zack thought it over. “Sure, why not? Miss Douglas did say we could use all the help we can get.â€
  3. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART IX Balrog sat at the interrogation table with a snarl on his face. Chun Li entered the room, but Balrog did not give her a chance to speak. “Your wastin’ yo’ time. I ain’t tellin you nothin’,†declared Balrog. “On the contrary Mr. Balrog, you’re going to tell us everything you know about this treasure hunt that Bison is on,†said Chun Li. “Why don’t you come over here and make me,†Balrog retorted. “If I have to, I will,†said Chun Li. Balrog laughed. “You and what army, princess?†“I’m glad you asked.†Chun Li pushed open the door and three women stepped in and glared at Balrog. “May I present Helena Douglas, she was the sponsor of the event you tried to rob, and more importantly a skilled fighter from the Dead or Alive tournaments. You also may recognize Lili Rochefort and Asuka Kazama, they were the two winning participants from the event.†Helena spoke up. “These two ladies were kind enough to accept our invitation to join the investigation into Victor Donovan, Kazuya Mishima, and your boss.†Balrog looked over the four women standing across from him. “Am I supposed to be intimidated by a bunch of girls? Like I said before I ain’t tellin’ you nothin’.†A mischievous grin appeared on Lili’s face. “I was hoping you would say that.†In one quick motion, Lili kicked Balrog out of his chair. The enraged boxer gathered himself up, but was struck from behind by Helena. The four women continued to knock around the brawny bruiser for fifteen minutes before he finally had enough. “Alright, alright, I tell ya whatever you want to know,†Balrog pleaded. “What is Bison looking for?†Chun Li asked with a smile on her face. “I don’t know,†answered Balrog. Asuka and Lili lifted their arms to strike. Balrog quickly raised both arms to defend himself. “I swear, I don’t know,†he insisted. “I just know it’s called Soul Edge. Supposedly, one of those pansies from the King of the Iron Fist tournament knows where it’s located. That’s who I was supposed to be looking for.†Chun Li nodded her head. “Yes, we found their pictures on your person after your fight with Paul Phoenix.†Helena rubbed her chin. “Soul Edge? I must go research this.†She quickly left the room. “The King of the Iron Fist is our tournament. I wonder who they are talking about?†Asuka wondered. Lili shrugged. “Do you ladies know how to get into contact with the other fighters from your tournament?†asked Chun Li. “Some of them. I saw Paul and Law working for Miss Douglas. They might be able to contact more,†Asuka suggested. “Okay, you four contact who you can and find out if they know anything about this Soul Edge, I’m going to get more bodies for us to help track down the more elusive fighters from your tournament,†Chun Li instructed. “Something tells me the key will be one of them.†“We’re on it.†Asuka and Lili left the interrogation room. Chun Li glanced over at an ashamed Balrog and announced triumphantly. “As for you, I’ve been waiting a long time to say this, you are going to jail!†---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In a small town in China, Yang ran around the streets and through his family owned restaurant to find his twin brother, Yun. Upon seeing him, his brother laughed. “Yang, why you running around like that? What’s your rush, bro?†“I received a call from Chun Li,†Yang informed. “She needs our help.†Yun’s demeanor changed. “Of course we’ll help. Where is she?†“In America. Pack your bag, we need to leave as soon as possible,†said Yang. Yun nodded. Several minutes later, Yang waited impatiently by the restaurant entrance with his roller blades and red travel sack over his shoulder. When Yun finally showed up, he scolded him. “What’s taking so long, we need to go!†Yun sighed. ‘I can’t find my skateboard.†“So?†“You know that’s my lucky board, bro. I hate traveling without it,†explained Yun. “Fine. I’ll give you ten more minutes. If you can’t find it by then we’re leaving without it,†said Yang. “Thanks Yang.†Yun looked around. “It’s obviously not in the restaurant. I must have left it in town somewhere.†Yun walked through all his usual skate locations and asked several villagers if they had seen his skateboard. After failing to find it anywhere else, his last hope was an old factory on the edge of town. Yun was skeptical because he hadn’t skateboarded in that factory in a long time, but he held out hope that somehow his board would be there. As he wandered through the factory, a smile started to stretch across Yun’s face. There it was, his skateboard leaned against the wall. Yun’s joy suddenly turned into suspicion. How did his skateboard get here? A figure approached him from behind. Yun sensed the man and quickly went into his battle stance. Once Yun got a good look at the man he let out a sigh of relief. “You scared me death, monk,†Yun scolded. “Do you know your history, boy?†the monk asked. “All the important things,†answered Yun. “There once was an emperor of China that feared any martial artist becoming greater than himself. As a result, all powerful martial techniques were banned and any one caught practicing them were sentenced to death. The emperor created a clan to accomplish this task, and although the emperor is no longer around the clan still exists bound to its duty,†said the monk. Yun snickered. “I thought you said history not children’s stories.†“It is not a story for children, Yun. You are about to find out just how real it is. I, Lei Fei, am a member of that clan and I’ve been tasked with the responsibility of taking down you and your brother.†Yun glanced over at his skateboard and shook his head. “If you wanted to challenge me to a fight, you didn’t have to steal my skateboard. I’m always up for a good fight.†“Were you not listening, Yun? I am not here to simply fight you, I’m here to kill you.† 
  4. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART VIII In his secret MIST base out in the ocean, Victor Donovan was handed a scrap of paper by one of his assistants. “Are you sure this information is accurate?†Donovan asked. She nodded. Donovan smiled and immediately dialed his assassin, Christie. Christie answered from her silver mustang. “Hello?†“Progress report?†said Donovan. “I finally found Billy Kane,†replied Christie. “I think he’ll be a good addition for us. He is willing to do just about anything if we set him and his sister up financially. If one of our enemies is a smoker, he might take them out free of charge. When I found him he was pounding on some pathetic twerp just for lighting one up in front of him.†Billy chuckled. “Where are you headed toward now?†asked Donovan. “Metro City. I’m hoping I can find some useful parts from the old Mad Gear gang that used to run amok there. I’m not particularly confident about it.†“Do not worry about that. I will send someone else to Metro City to recruit, I need you to do something else,†Donovan informed. “I’m listening.†“Unfortunately, Yoshimitsu and his entire Manji Clan have been harder to locate than I anticipated. This is a serious problem because when I made my deal with Kazuya, I assured him that I would have an easier time getting to Yoshimitsu and acquiring the sword since he does not know me," explained Donovan. “I believe someone has tipped Yoshimitsu off and now he is in hiding. It is an exercise in futility, I will find him soon enough. Meanwhile, I want to switch up strategies and play some defense.†Christie listened intently. “M. Bison and Shadoloo are also pursuing the sword. If we can find a way to obstruct their search, it might prevent Kazuya from becoming too anxious and rethinking our deal.†“How do you propose we do that?†Christie wondered. “The Dolls,†said Donovan. “The Dolls?†Christie repeated. “It was the name of Bison’s personal guard. Young girls hand picked by Bison himself and then brainwashed to be killers and put in matching outfits to be his bodyguards.†“Sounds kinda kinky,†said Christie. “All twelve of the Dolls were beaten severely by an operative named Juri Han not too long ago. I have obtained the location of the hospital where one currently resides, and I want you to go retrieve her. Take Billy with you. Her mind is probably a jumbled mess at this point, but the G Corporation’s scientists are no strangers to human experimentation, I’m sure they can extract some valuable information from her that we can use against Bison,†said Donovan. “So you want us to deliver a damaged Doll to Kazuya?†“Precisely. I’m sending the information to you now.†“It will be done.†Christie hung up the phone and noticed a peculiar look from Billy. “It’s for the money, Billy, it’s always for the money.†---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cammy quickly finished eating her food in the hospital cafeteria. She looked at her pet cat on the table. “I’m sure she is up by now. We should go see how she is doing.†Several floors above Cammy, Christie and Billy Kane were wandering the halls. Billy, dressed as an orderly, rolled a wheel chair behind Christie, who was dressed as a nurse. “The name on her paperwork is Juni, and her room should be on this floor somewhere, we just need to find it. Look for 6B,†instructed Christie. “And then we just inject her with the needle and roll her out?†asked Billy. “That’s it,†answered Christie. “A quick and easy job. No mess and no unneeded attention. It was completely unnecessary for you to sneak your staff in here. It’s a non smoking building, I don’t think anyone here will incur your anger.†“I like having my staff on me, besides I brought it with me in large part because you told me not too. I’ve never been too fond of people telling me what to do,†Billy replied. Christie stopped walking for a moment and lifted an eyebrow. “And you wonder why you struggle to make enough money to support you and your sister?†Billy tilted his head in agreement and then pointed at a door on the right. “There it is.†Christie and Billy entered the room. Juni was awake, but in a very groggy state. “I haven’t seen you guys here before. Did you just start working here?†Juni asked. “Work for a nurse’s salary? What a depressing joke,†Christie remarked. Christie quickly pulled out her syringe and jammed it in Juni’s neck. Down the hall, Cammy stepped off the elevator on her phone with Chun Li. "You caught Balrog, that is fantastic. You know I’d love to be there with you, but I can’t leave Juni’s side until I know she is going to be alright. She has recently made some fantastic progress. I think having someone here to cheer her on has been a major source of encouragement and comfort for her. But, keep me posted on how the hunt is going. As soon as Juni recovers to an acceptable state, I will fly out there to be with you. Hold on Chun Li, it looks like they are moving her for some reason. I will have to call you back.†Cammy hung up the phone as she entered Juni’s room. “Excuse me, where are you taking this patient?†she asked. “She is scheduled for some tests today,†replied Christie as she wheeled Juni to the doorway. “No she is not. I know her full itinerary,†Cammy said sharply. She looked down at Juni’s drugged condition. “What have you done to her?†Christie shook her head. “So much for the quick and easy approach.†Christie lunged at Cammy with the syringe. Cammy deftly knocked it out of her hands. Christie looked at the syringe on the ground and then back up at Cammy. “Oh, I see we have a fighter on her hands. Another Doll perhaps? I guess I should have known with that skin tight green leotard your wearing. Where can I get one of those?†Cammy stepped into her fighting stance. “There’s plenty more of that waiting for you if you don’t tell me who you are and what you want with Juni this instant.†“I think not.†Christie looked at Billy. “Time to earn your money, Billy. When you’re finished meet me at the hotel. I’m going to wheel Miss Juni out of here before we attract any more unwanted guests.†“You are crazy if you think I’m going to let you leave with her,†said Cammy. Billy Kane quickly pulled his staff out and blocked Cammy from approaching Christie and Juni. “You don’t have much of a say in the matter, sweetheart.†Christie laughed. “You two have fun.â€
  5. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART VII With a flurry of powerful kicks and bone crunching punches, Paul Phoenix put down the mighty Balrog with relative ease. The resounding victory even caught the proud fighter by surprise. “Wow! I won,†whispered Paul. The loud noises brought his friend Marshall Law and El Fuerte to the scene. “What happened?†asked Law. “Nothing much. Just some punk who thought he could steal the prize money,†said Paul. Law apologized. “Sorry buddy, I didn’t mean to leave you alone for so long. It’s just El Fuerte and I got to talking and he is going to try to set up a meeting with Lau Chan. You know what that could do for my restaurant?†El Fuerte pointed to the fallen boxer. “Amigo, do you know who that is?†Paul shrugged. “That is Balrog, one of the top lieutenants of M. Bison and Shadoloo,†El Fuerte explained. “Shadow who?†blurted Paul. Mandalay Bay security were next to arrive to the scene. “Is everything alright? We saw the fight break out on the security cameras and got here as fast as we could.†“Relax guys, it’s nothing I couldn’t handle,†Paul boasted. “We should tell Miss Douglas about this,†suggested Law. “Hurry, your friend and I shall guard the prisoner,†said El Fuerte. Paul and Law nodded and Law quickly went to retrieve their employer for the night. Several minutes later, Law returned with Helena Douglas and Chun Li following behind him. “I don’t believe it,†Chun Li once she caught a full view of the unconscious Balrog. She turned to Paul. “Do you know how long we have been chasing this criminal? You have my sincere thanks and gratitude. You did a great thing this night.†Paul blushed. “Aww, it was nothing.†“What a wonderful turn of events,†Helena remarked. “As soon as he regains consciousness we will interrogate him about what his boss is after and hopefully have a better idea of just what exactly our targets are after.†“We’re going to need some extra strength handcuffs for this goon. Luckily I brought some with me, just in case,†Chun Li noted. Helena smiled benevolently at her hired security.“This certainly merits a bonus in your check Mr. Phoenix.†Paul and Marshall high fived in celebration. The match ending bell echoed through the hallways. “Sounds like the exhibition match has finished out there. Gentlemen, would you please grab the prize money and follow Agent Li and myself to the ring for the ceremonial presentation,†said Helena. “Yes mam,†Paul and Law answered in unison. Chun Li finished cuffing Balrog. “Perhaps I should stay with him.†“Nonsense darling, we must uphold appearances. This strapping young masked fellow can help security escort Balrog out. I will alert my personal DOATEC security to meet them outside,†said Helena. Chun Li fixed her eyes upon El Fuerte. “I’m trusting you.†“You can count on me, senorita,†El Fuerte responded. Chun Li and Helena walked back toward the arena, followed by Paul, Law, and the prize money. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In the ring, Lili raised her arms in victory to the roar of the crowd. She wore a dismissive grin upon her face as she gazed down on her fallen opponent. “Someone should clean this filth out of the ring before I have to teach her another lesson or two,†she taunted. Sakura entered the ring to help up her defeated friend, Karin. “That’s right little school girl, gather her up and get her and her laughable skills out of my ring. I have some celebrating to do,†said Lili. “You won the match, there is no need to be rude,†Sakura scolded. “Careful little school girl, I’m on an adrenaline rush right now and I just might feel the need to teach you a lesson too,†warned Lili. “Don’t tempt me. I think I would receive a lot of satisfaction out of knocking that smug expression off your face,†said Sakua. “As if you could, don’t make me laugh,†Lili retorted. Asuka Kazama entered the ring in fear that Lili’s mouth was going to get her into trouble while the two girls continued to verbally go back and forth. Helena and Chun Li were half way down the aisle with the prize money when Helena’s cell phone made her pause. “Zack, make your progress report quick darling, you’ve caught me at a bad time....You’ve gathered both Armstrongs and another wrestler?....Your plan is to what?...I like it. Gather all the tournament fighters you can and escort them to the Freedom Survivor...†Back in the ring, Lili continued her belittlement of Sakura. “And what is with your outfit? That headband and those gloves with those clothes? What look were you going for? A confused 13 year old boy cosplaying as a Sailor Moon character? Pick a style and stick with it, sweetie.†A frustrated Sakura lifted her leg to strike Lili. At the last moment, Asuka slid in front of the blonde heiress to block the attack. “I know she can be annoying, but attacking her after a hard fought match would be unfair,†Asuka lectured. “Fair is more than she deserves,†Sakura remarked. “Asuka, I don’t need your help,†said Lili. “Be quiet Lili, I’ve got this.†Asuka returned her attention to Sakura. “Now if it’s a fight your after, I’ve done about all the spectating I can handle tonight. I’ll take you on.†“Really? I’m always looking for a way to test my abilities.†“Now hold on a minute, if you think I’m going to let the two of you come in here and steal my spotlight...†Lili protested. Both Sakura and Asuka glared at Lili. Lili relented. “Well fine. It’s a bit unusual, but I guess just this once we can have an undercard fight after the main event.†Chun Li nudged Helena who was still on her phone with Zack. “Shouldn’t we do something about this?†Helena gazed up at the ring. “Zack, I need to let you go. I will call you back soon for a full update.†“I will go in there and break it up,†Chun Li decided. “Now hold on for a moment. I recognize that girl on the left, that is Asuka Kazama. She is kin to Jin Kazama, leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu. I do not know if they are also involved in this pursuit with Victor Donovan and Kazuya Mishima, but I would not be surprised. According to her file, Asuka has no real relationship with Jin, but it might be prudent to see what she does bring to the table. She might make a useful ally,†said Helena. “Besides there is no greater present for a sold out audience than an encore. I just hope that other girl can adequately test Asuka’s abilities. She also looks vaguely familiar.†“That other girl is Sakura Kasugano. She is one of the strongest young fighters I’ve ever come across,†informed Chun Li. “Great. It’s settled then.†“So...uh...do we just continue to stand here with the prize money?†asked Paul.
  6. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART VI Z.W.E.I. sharpened his sword carefully in a dimly lit, abandoned shop. He stopped often to get a better look at his craftsmanship. After a short while he was joined by his traveling companion, Viola. “It is time,†she said with authority. “It is time for what?†“Time for action! Action to prevent the horrible vision I have been having for over a decade,†explained Viola. “Which vision...wait a minute you don’t mean THE vision...the one with the winged demons and the soulless vessels and the epic fights that will shake mountains.†“Yes.†“It can’t be. We already did our action all those years ago when we willingly took shards of the Soul Edge into our bodies. Then we scattered across the globe so that if anyone would ever find it they would not be able to use its full power. We have played our part,†said Z.W.E.I. “It’s not enough,†Viola countered. “In the last few hundred years the world has expanded, but it has also shrunk. If it comes to it, I doubt we could hide very long. We need to bring the fight to them to protect this thing that we have dedicated our lives too.†“I’m always up for a good fight, but do you think we are strong enough? Fights that shake mountains sounds like some pretty strong competition,†said Z.W.E.I. “Taking parts of the Soul Edge into us may have stunted our aging, heck I don’t even know how old I actually am, but it doesn’t make us immortal. Remember what happened to Patrokolos.†Viola smiled. “And you should remember that you aren’t that easy to kill. Remember we all thought you dead when Pyrrha stabbed you in the back and you fell into the abyss. There are allies out there that can help us. These men that desire the Soul Edge have enemies of their own, some enemies that dabble in the mystic arts as I do. I can feel a connection to them as I’m sure they do to me.†“I don’t like it. I think we should try to at least find Siegfried first before we make our move,†Z.W.E.I insisted. “Ok. But, first thing in the morning we began our quest by tracking down Siegfried. There is no time to waste,†said Viola. “I promise,†replied Z.W.E.I. The next morning Z.W.E.I. looked around for Viola, but could not find her. His face fell when he found a note on the counter. Dear Z.W.E.I, I thank you so much for being my companion for the last three centuries, and for being my friend. You have no idea how much you mean to me. I understand your hesitation, but if I am to stop this horror from happening I can not afford trepidation. I have left to Italy to find the fortune teller, Rose. If you want to stand with me then I will see you there, if not I understand and wish me luck. Viola Z.W.E.I. crumpled up the note in anger. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Viola walked into Rose’s shop and sat in the seat across from her. “I am not open today,†said Rose. “I am not here to get my fortune read. I have a pretty good handle on my destiny. My name is...†“I know who you are.†“Good, then you know why I’m here." Viola laid out pictures of M. Bison, Victor Donovan, Kazuya Mishima, and Jin Kazama. “I need your help in stopping these men. I know you have a unique connection to the one on the left.†“I can not help you,†said Rose. “What?†Rose stared into Viola‘s eyes. “There is a darkness in your soul. I felt it the moment you stepped in my door.†“You don’t understand. We did what we had to do. We had tried to help Siegfried destroy Soul Edge so many times and it always came back. We had to try something else. So Yoshimitsu of the Manji clan agreed to hide it in a place no one would ever find it. Only the current holder of the Yoshimitsu title would ever know its location. But even that was not enough. As an insurance policy, we all took in a little piece of the wicked sword into our very beings so that if anyone did find it they would need to destroy us all for Soul Edge to reach its full potential. It was a drastic move, but it was one that worked, until now,†Viola explained. “I am not judging your actions. I, too, have felt darkness in my soul. I share the same soul as Bison, and for a time he possessed me completely. But, that sword’s presence in your soul taints your visions, it prevents you from seeing the whole picture,†said Rose. “It does not matter what you say. I know what I must do,†Viola insisted. “If you will not help me, then I will find someone who will.†“I can’t let you do that.†“Excuse me?†“You think your strong conviction to confront these men comes from your desire to destroy Soul Edge. In reality, it is the evil sword working through you, bringing you home,†Rose said sharply. “I am not nor have I ever been a puppet to the Soul Edge!†Viola rose to her feet. “The shard that rests in me is not strong enough to cloud my judgment.†“So you believe. But, your belief is wrong!†Rose declared. “And I can not allow you to actively engage these men and make it easier for that wretched weapon to find its way back into this world. My heart shudders at the thought of what Bison might do if he is able to add the Soul Edge’s power to his own.†“I know that Soul Edge is not affecting my decisions, I believe it is fear that is affecting yours,†Viola said coldly. Rose shook her head. “How can someone who has lived for so long still be so young and naive.†Viola prepared herself for battle. “If you think you can stop me from pursuing them, half soul, I invite you to try.†“Then I guess I must accept your invitation.â€
  7. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART V As Wolf Hawkfield celebrated his impressive victory in the ring, Bass Armstrong tended to his disappointed daughter in her locker room. His eyes were filled with pity as she slowly tended to her injuries. “I’m here for you honey, if you need help,†he said. “I’ve bandaged myself up before dad,†she replied. “Well I don’t care what anyone says, I think you did great out there,†said Bass. Tina glared at her father. “I lost daddy.†She tenderly grabbed her side. “And I think I may have cracked a rib. We might need to get a doctor in here.†Bass clinched his fists. “I’m going to go out there and break Wolf Hawkfield in half!†“You’ll do no such thing,†Tina scolded. The locker room door swung open and Zack and Kokoro entered in. Bass tilted his head back. “You again?†Tina sighed. “Sorry I couldn’t put on a better show for y’all.†“I think you represented yourself quite well out there,†said Kokoro. Bass patted his daughter’s knee. “You see? What did I tell you.†“We do have some pressing business to attend to,†said Zack. “I told you I don’t know where Rig is,†insisted Bass. “Rig? From the Dead or Alive Tournament?†asked Tina. “Yes,†said Kokoro. “We were hoping one of you might have some information about him so we can ask him about his father’s activities.†“What makes you think he would help you even if you did find him?†Tina wondered. “I don’t know. I guess we’re just trying to explore all our options so that we can stop Victor Donovan,†Kokoro confessed. “If you want to find him, I think you should try to lure him out. Why don’t you just gather up everybody from the DOA tournaments into one location?†suggested Tina. “I guarantee you Donovan will notice and send someone to investigate, maybe even Rig himself.†Zack pumped his fist. “That’s a great idea. Let me call Helena, but I think you’re onto something. Whatever is about to happen at least we can have strength in numbers.†“I don’t know how much use I’d be right now if something went down,†Tina lamented. “But you can count on my pop and me, right big daddy?†“Uhhh....right.†The locker room door was opened again, this time by Wolf Hawkfield. Rage flowed through Bass’s body. “You got a lot of nerve coming in here, after what you did to my baby girl!†“Daddy relax,†said Tina. “He beat me fair and square, no use holding a grudge against him for it.†“I just wanted to come in here and see how you were doing and congratulate you on a hard fought match,†said Wolf. “I should be giving my congrats to you, you won. You were definitely one of the strongest guys I’ve ever tangled with.†“Yes he was.†A light bulb went off in Zack’s mind. “Mr. Wolf Hawkfield, may I introduce myself? My name is Zack and I represent one, Helena Douglas. We are currently embarking on a mission to stop a dangerous maniac from obtaining an object of unknown power so that he can use it to regain the DOATEC or some other evil purpose. We are gathering some of the strongest warriors in the world. Would you like to join?†“I have no idea what you are talking about... will there be fights?†asked Wolf. “Fights galore baby, I’m sure of it,†responded Zack. “Then count me in,†said Wolf. “Fine. But, if he is coming with us, I don’t want to sit next to him,†said Bass. Tina smacked him on the arm. “Oh, grow up!†Kokoro turned to Zack. “So where to next, captain?†“Hmmmm..... I say we go to Gen Fu’s residence. With any luck Eliot and Brad Wong will be there with him, so we can gather them all up in one trip.†---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Zack searched through Gen Fu’s bookstore for him with no luck. He walked over to Gen Fu’s house just in time to catch the end of a sparring session between Brad Wong and Eliot outside while Gen Fu watched. Eliot knocked Brad to the ground then extended an arm to help him back up. “You’re getting better by the day,†Brad remarked. “Thanks,†replied Eliot. “Hey guys,†called Zack. “Can I chat with you for a minute?†Zack summarized the situation. He told the three men about Victor Donovan’s plans to obtain an ancient object for the G Corporation’s Kazuya Mishima in exchange for unlimited access to G Corporation’s vast resources and how an evil dictator named M. Bison was also after the object. Gen Fu nodded. “It sounds very serious indeed.†He pointed at Brad and Eliot. “I think you two should go with Zack and help in any way you can.†“What about you master?†asked Eliot. “Eliot, you have surpassed all expectations, you don’t need me out there. Besides, I am getting too old for this.†Brad scoffed. “Nonsense. You are the hardest hitter I know.†“My mind is set,†stated Gen Fu. “I think I should like to go visit my granddaughter in these uncertain times. It has been too long since I have seen her smiling face.†Brad and Eliot respected Gen Fu’s wishes and left with Zack. Gen Fu walked inside his house to make himself some tea. Suddenly he stopped and stood very still. “I may be getting old, but it is still very hard to sneak up on me,†he remarked. “I had no intention of attacking you from behind, I could have just as well knocked your entire bookstore to the ground to get your attention.†Gen Fu turned around to get a full view of the intruder who proceeded to mock him. “The legendary Gen Fu, a master of Xinyi Liuhe Quan, the great ‘Iron Fist’ himself. And yet, he never had the courage to participate in the King of the Iron Fist tournament.†“I do not feel the need to prove anything to anyone. I joined the Dead or Alive tournament to get the prize money for my sick granddaughter. Through my ability and the connections that I made I was able to pay all her hospital bills and she made a full recovery. I no longer have an incentive to participate in any tournament,†Gen Fu explained. “You are a bigger fool than I thought.†“Who are you?†asked Gen Fu. “I am Feng Wei, Kenpo fighter and master of the God Fist!†Gen Fu lifted an eyebrow. “God Fist? I’ve never heard of it.†“Gen Fu, we are men of action, we have little use for false words,†Feng Wei snarled. “What do you want Feng Wei?†Gen Fu asked. “I spent years hunting down the God Fist scrolls. I’ve been through countless dojos and destroyed everyone and everything in my path, leaving behind a pile of beaten and broken martial artists, until I was finally able to pry the scrolls away from the Mishima Zaibatsu. You know what they said?†Gen Fu did not respond. “Destroyer of all styles, the one true ultimate style, it transcends the power of the Dragon God, which exceeds all human ability,†recited Feng Wei. “Sounds like a fairy tale to me,†said Gen Fu. “You’re about to find out old man. If I need to destroy all styles and their practitioners to truly master the God Fist, so be it!†   
  8. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART IV “A sumo wrestler?" Christie repeated into her cell phone in disbelief. She almost fell from her barstool. “Yes. Ganryu was a sumo wrestler, but now he is simply available muscle for cash. I can not speak to his abilities, but Kazuya informed me that Ganryu used to be his bodyguard and he is in desperate need to prove himself to Kazuya. So he has loaned us Ganryu for our expedition,†explained Donovan. “If our trek to obtain the Soul Edge gathers as much attention as I think it will, we will need as many capable fighters as possible. How is your recruitment going?†“I’m in South Town now. I read that Geese Howard had some impressive fighters when he was running things down here. Now all there is are stories. Everyone remembers Geese Howard and the Howard Connection, but there doesn’t seem to be any remnants of a skilled crew to hire.†Christie twirled the straw in her drink. “I was hoping to find Billy Kane, his rap sheet is quite impressive and I think he would be a fine addition, but I haven’t been able to track him down. I haven’t even seen either of those famous Bogard brothers that I kept hearing about. Maybe everybody has deserted this town. I’ll try to see if I can get a line on Billy Kane and then move to the next spot.†“Very good. We still have much that we need to do, so work fast,†said Donovan. “Understood,†replied Christie. She hung up her cell phone. “Excuse me, mam?†King, the owner and bartender of the Illusion Bar where Christie was currently at, approached her. “Another round?†“No. I’m good for the night. I just wanted to ask you a question. Do you know a Billy Kane?†“I do.†“Do you know where I may find him?†“Last I heard he was back in the UK with his sister,†answered King. Christie sighed and then placed a tip on the counter before leaving. “Thanks.†---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Later that night, King’s friend Ryo Sakazaki entered her bar. “Ryo! What brings you to my bar?†A half smile appeared on Ryo's face. “Just came to see a good friend, and get my mind off things.†“What kinds of things?†asked King. “I think Robert and my sister might end up engaged. He hasn’t said anything to me, but I know he’s thinking about it,†explained Ryo. “So your best friend slash rival would end up being your brother in law. What could be better than that?†Ryo shrugged and shook his head. “I don’t know. I gave him my blessing to date her awhile ago, and it’s not like I would want her with someone else. It’s just.... I don’t want to think about it right now.†“She’s your little sister. I think I understand,†said King. ‘I’ve actually been looking around town for Terry Bogard, or Andy. A good sparring match will clear up my head, not to mention I really want to stay sharp for the next King of Fighters tournament. But, I haven’t had any luck contacting them. Do you know where they are?†asked Ryo. “I think Andy mentioned something about going out to Metro City, but I don’t know for what reason,†answered King. “It’s funny that you bring them up, there was a woman in here earlier looking for Billy Kane.†“Billy? Really? A gilted ex girlfriend perhaps,†guessed Ryo. “Doubtful. Even though she was wearing a cocktail dress, she was definitely a fighter. I could tell.†â€Interesting. What did you tell her?†â€I told her he was in England with his siter. In truth, I don‘t know where he is. As for your situation, I was just about to close up shop. My last name isn‘t Bogard, but we have tussled a few times in this bar. I‘ll be a sparring partner for you if that is what you are looking for." Ryo began to accept her offer when he was suddenly interrupted by someone else who had entered the bar. “Excuse me?†“Are you old enough to be in this bar boy... wait a minute....†said King. “You’re a girl.†The girl responded with a sly grin. “What’s your name?†asked King. “Leo Kliesen,†the girl answered. “What are you doing in my bar, Miss Kliesen?†“I came to see you,†said Leo. “We’ve never met, but I’ve read about you. You dressed up like a man to get respect in the fighting community and used that to your advantage to defeat a Muay Thai champion and compete in several King of Fighters tournaments. It was very inspiring. I decided to use a similar tactic so that I would get respect when I entered the King of the Iron Fist Tournament.†“King of The Iron Fist you say? That’s impressive,†said Ryo. Leo looked down toward the ground. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t strong enough to accomplish my goal. I couldn’t get to Kazuya Mishima to exact revenge for my mother.†“Sorry to hear that, kiddo,†said King. “It is nice to hear that my story inspired another young female fighter.†“I was hoping that, if you don’t mind, you would spar with me. I want to know how far I’ve come since the last tournament and I figured there is no better person to test my skills against than you,†said Leo. “You came all the way to South Town to challenge me to a fight?†King said with a broad smile. “It would be my honor.†She glanced over at Ryo. “That is, if you don’t mind putting a rain check on our match-up.†“Not at all. I’m intrigued by all of this,†said Ryo. King stepped out from behind the bar and adjusted her cufflinks.“It is settled then. Ryo, would you mind locking the door?†King turned her attention to Leo. “Are you ready?â€
  9. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART III At the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, while Lili and Karin engaged in battle, Helena Douglas and Chun Li scanned the audience. “I do see some familiar faces,†said Chun Li. “Like I said before, it’s a start,†replied Helena. “Can I ask you something, Helena?†“Of course.†“You told me that you wanted my help because of my knowledge of Shadoloo, did you not also want someone with more expansive knowledge of G Corporation to assist?†“I tried, believe me. There is an officer by the name of Lei Wulong who participates in the King of the Iron Fist tournaments. I would like to pick his brain, but I have been unable to locate him thus far,†explained Helena. “I did find one man who claimed to once have been a rival to Kazuya Mishima. He also participates in the King of the Iron Fist, but he has no useful intel on the G Corporation.†Helena chuckled. “All he really wanted to do was talk about a donation. It seems he is strapped for cash. I took pity on him. I hired him and his friend to work security tonight, you can never be too careful.†Paul Phoenix and Marshall Law approached Helena and Chun Li. Helena smiled. “And here they are.†“Everything seems to be going okay, mam!†announced Paul. “I’m glad to hear it darling. You two are keeping on eye on the prize money right?†Helena asked. “Prize money?†Paul repeated. “I thought this was for charity,†said Law. “It is darling, but before the money is donated it is handed to the winner. It is a formality. It’s all just part of the pomp and circumstance of the event.†Paul and Law shrugged. “We’re on it.†After the two men left, Chun Li turned toward Helena. “You think it wise to have two men desperate for money guarding a large sum of cash?†“I think I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the ball rolling as long as it leads me to Donovan,†Helena answered. Confusion splashed across Chun Li’s face. Paul and Law found the prize money in a glass display case surrounded by casino security. “It looks like they got the prize money pretty well covered already,†noted Law. “I don’t know. None of those guards look very strong. Any of the fighters here could probably take them out before they knew what hit them,†said Paul. Law’s eyes lit up. “Fighters like us?†Paul chuckled. “Exactly fighters like us.†The two friends exchanged mischievous smiles. “I think I know of way to get to it without bringing too much attention to ourselves. Follow my lead,†said Law. Law approached the casino security and flashed his DOATEC security name badge. “Hey fellas you guys can leave, Miss Douglas has decided she wants her own people guarding the prize money, just to be safe.†“Yeah, no offense, but this job requires some real muscle,†added Paul. The head of the security detail looked over their credentials. “Whatever, I didn’t want to be here anyway. I knew something was fishy when she didn’t want to use our vault.†After the casino security left, Paul approached the money with eyes bulged. Law looked over at a nearby security camera. “You know the more I think about it, buddy, the more I think this may not be a great idea. We have never had much luck with our schemes, and we are talking about robbing from a very public event.†“But the money is right here. The answer to all our problems is right here,†Paul insisted. “It just doesn’t feel right.†Law thought it over. “What if we present the prize money to the winner and then challenge them for it right there in the middle of the ring. I’m sure she would have too much pride to decline. Then we could win the money fair and square and our money problems would be over.†Paul patted his friend on the back. “You’re a smart man, Marshall Law.†“Now we just have to wait until the fight is over,†said Law. They looked around aimlessly until something caught Law’s eye. “Is that who I think it is?†Paul squinted. “Who are you looking at? That goof in the luchador outfit?†“Do you really not know who that is?†asked Law. “No.†“It’s El Fuerte, a prominent chef fighter from Mexico. If I could just talk to him for a few minutes, I’m sure I could get some helpful advice on how to make my restaurant more successful,†said Law. “I’ll be right back.†“Where are you going? You can’t leave now.†“I’ll be right back,†Law promised. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Balrog cut his way through the crowds at Mandalay Bay. He shook his head in disgust. “What a disgrace. This never would have been happening if I still ran this city.†His cell phone rang. “Hello.†“How goes the hunting?†asked Vega. “I haven’t found anyone yet.†“You have the pictures right.†“Yeah, yeah, I have all the pictures of those wimps from the King of the Iron Fist tournament, but the only one I’ve seen is the rich little blonde girl whose fighting.†“Keep looking.†“What am I supposed to do again when I find one of these geeks?†“Rough them up and ask them about the Soul Edge. If it sounds like they might know something about it, bring them in,†Vega instructed. “What the hell is a Soul Edge?†asked Balrog. Vega sighed. “I don’t know. Bison won’t tell us. In his words, our own selfish greed might cause us to do something we would all regret.†“He has a point. I guess that’s why he’s the boss.†“Keep me updated.†Vega hung up. Balrog half heartedly looked over the crowd by the ring. He looked right past Asuka Kazama without recognizing her. Suddenly, a conversation near him caught his ear. “Which ever one of these girls wins this fight, deserves the seven million dollars. They are really giving it their all,†said one spectator. “You know the money is going to charity,†replied his wife. “I know, I’m just saying they are putting on a spectacular match. They must train constantly, I can’t believe their parents would let them fight this much.†Anger swelled inside of Balrog. Even during his heyday before being kicked out of boxing, he had never fought for a seven million dollar payday. Now they were offering it for a puny chick fight. Worst of all, then it was going to charity. “It’s time to get my bonus early this year,†he whispered. Balrog searched the venue for the prize money and was surprised to find it out in the open on display with only one man standing next to it. “Hey dweeb, let me have that money and maybe I won’t put you in the hospital.†“This money is for the fight. You can’t have it,†said Paul. “Listen punk, I can knock out elephants! You don’t want to make me angry!†“Elephants? so what. I can knock down brick walls!†Paul clinched his fists. “In fact, I’m the strongest fighter in the universe!!†Balrog sneered and then suddenly stared at Paul’s hair. “Have we met? I’ve seen that idiotic haircut somewhere before.†“I don’t remember you from anything.†“Wait a minute, you’re one of those Iron Fist brats, even better. I can make some cash and bring someone in for the boss.†Paul looked around. He wondered where Law and his masked friend had ran off to. Balrog put up his fists. “First you’re going to give me that money! Then you’re going to tell me everything you know about Soul Edge!†“What Edge?† 
  10. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART II While Helena Douglas did her best to draw competitors from the various fighting tournaments from across the globe out in to the open, Zack and Kokoro took the company helicopter to pay a visit to some familiar faces. Zack sat in the pilot seat while Kokoro looked over the dossiers of all the fighters who had ever registered at the World Warrior Tournament or the King of the Iron Fist Tournament. “I had no idea there were so many more strong fighters in the world. I guess it’s true that everyone does live in their own bubble,†she commented. “I didn’t think they looked that tough,†said Zack. “Are you joking? This man, Akuma, looks positively terrifying.†“I guess there might be a few in there that would last a couple of rounds in the Dead or Alive Tournament.†Zack stopped a minute to look out to his left. “I do know one thing for sure though. None of those women can compare to any of the beauties we have in our tournament.†“I don’t know about that. But speaking of our tournament, who are we going to see first? Hayate and Ayane?†“I considered that. The ninjas always seem to have a good grasp on what’s going on in the world. But, there is someone better to talk to first,†answered Zack. “Who?†“Do you remember Rig from the last tournament?†Kokoro frowned. “Yes, that horrible man that turned out to be Victor Donovan’s son.†“That’s the one. We found out later that before the tournament he worked construction with Bass Armstrong. I think they were even friends. The way I see it, if anyone knows what might be going on with Donovan it’s his son, and if anyone can get us to Rig it’s Bass.†“I see. So where are we headed?†Zack looked to his left again. “We’re here. Bass and Tina are here in Philadelphia. Tina has got some hot shot wrestling match tonight and her dad is here to support her.†“Who is she wrestling?†asked Kokoro. “A guy named Wolf Hawkfield.†---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bass knocked on Tina’s dressing room door. “Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider this, darling. There is still time. I could take your place. I don’t think anyone would mind.†“Why would I back out now?†Tina asked from inside. “Because you are woman wrestling a man.†“So what? I fight men all the time in the Dead or Alive tournament.†“That’s different.†“I don’t see how,†Tina said in a frustrated tone. “Have you seen him out there? He is a big dude.†“I know,†replied Tina. “He is a former champion. Pai Chan told me about him at the last Dead or Alive tournament. She said he was the strongest, fiercest wrestler she knew. I’m really excited to get in the ring with him.†Tina hesitated for a moment. “Hey, you think if I can beat this guy and look good doing it they will put together a match for me and Zangief?†“Zangief? You don’t want to fight the Red Cyclone, darling. He fights dirty,†Bass responded. “I think that’s just sour grapes talking, because you never got to have your big match with him,†said Tina. “That’s not it at all,†insisted Bass. “I just.. you know it’s really hard to have a talk through a closed door.†“I’ll be out in a minute.†Before he could say another word, Bass was joined by Zack and Kokoro in the hallway. “Bass Armstrong, my man, what’s going on?†said Zack. Bass squinted at Zack. “You’re that punk from the DOA tournaments who is always hitting on or trying to exploit my daughter!†Tina popped out of her dressing room wearing an American flag bikini and some blue and white spandex shorts. “What do you think Big Daddy?†she asked. Bass shook his head. “Honey no. Don’t you have some real wrestling tights?†“These are my real wrestling tights.†“That would barely be considered clothes.†Tina noticed the presence of Zack and Kokoro. “Hey y’all! You came to watch my match. That’s so sweet. I’d love to chat, but I have to get out there. I hope y’all got some good seats.†Bass watched helplessly as she walked away. “We aren’t here about Tina, we’re here about Rig,†said Kokoro. “Rig? I haven’t seen him since the last tournament. I heard he ended up being kin to Donovan or something like that,†Bass answered distractedly. “I can’t talk right now. I have to get out there.†Bass scampered after Tina. “What do we do?†asked Kokoro. “Wait till the match is over and bring them both with us. Bass has some useful information, I’m sure of it and Tina is a gossip queen. I’m thinking she might have heard something about this mystery item from somebody.†Kokoro looked down the hall. “What if that man out there grinds her into dust first? Do you think she will win?†Zack shrugged. In the arena, Tina walked to the ring with a big smile on her face. As she stepped through the ropes, Wolf Hawkfield greeted her with his trademark howl. “Oh, this is going to be fun,†Tina said. Wolf snickered. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Miss Armstrong. It will my honor to pound you into the mat.†“Sweet talk won’t get you anywhere, honey,†said Tina. Wolf grinned and then howled again.  
  11. GAINING AN EDGE: A MASSIVE FIGHTING GAME CROSSOVER PART I Interpol agent Chun Li took in her surroundings as the helicopter she was in descended and landed on the large ship, Freedom Survivor. “We’re here!†announced the pilot of the helicopter. “Am I the only one that finds it strange that this meeting is taking place on a boat in the middle of the ocean?†asked Chun Li. “Miss Douglas conducts all her meetings right here on the Freedom Survivor,†informed the pilot. “Anywhere else you go, you can’t be sure who’s listening.†“I suppose caution is key for a woman in her position,†Chun Li reasoned. Chun Li exited the helicopter. The eyes of the pilot followed her closely. “May I just say that you have the most amazing thighs I have ever seen!†“Don’t get any ideas, Zack,†warned Chun Li, “my legs are lethal weapons.†“It was just a compliment. I have had my fill of female fighters believe me,†responded the pilot. Zack and Chun Li entered the cabin office of the Freedom Survivor. Helena noticed them immediately out of the corner of her eye. She turned to her half sister, Kokoro, who was currently speaking to her.“I’m sorry Kokoro, we will have to finish this at another time. I have some pressing business I need to attend to.†Kokoro nodded. “Zack, would you please escort Kokoro so Agent Li and I can talk privately?†asked Helena. Zack smirked. “Sure thing boss lady.†He extended his arm to Kokoro and they left together. “Thank you for responding so quickly,†said Helena. “When the head of the DOATEC mentions the words danger and Shadoloo it grabs my attention,†replied Chun Li. “Yes, well it is still greatly appreciated considering Interpol’s distrust of DOATEC thanks to the actions of my predecessor, Victor Donovan.†“We have no reason to suspect the DOATEC of any wrongdoing since you’ve taken over, Miss Douglas. At least not yet,†said Chun Li. “Now please explain to me why I’m here.†Helena sat down at her desk. “Ever since I booted Donovan from his position, he has been desperate to regain his power. He even has a secret offshoot organization named MIST to help him continue his desires to create the perfect warrior through any means necessary. According to my spies within MIST he has recently reached out to the G Corporation, do you know of them?†“Only a little,†admitted Chun Li. “They are a powerful corporation located out of Japan, unknown to most of the public they partake in various unlawful activities. One such activity is human experimentation. I’m sure that it was what attracted Donovan to them. In exchange for unlimited access to their resources, Donovan has agreed to fetch an ancient item for the head of G Corporation, Kazuya Mishima. An item said to possess great power and great evil. I fear what Donovan might do if he gains access to the G Corporation, or worse tries to keep the item for himself.†“What is the item?†asked Chun Li. “I don’t know. That is what I was hoping you could help me with.†“What makes you think I would have any insight?†“According to my spies, Donovan isn’t the only one after the artifact,†said Helena. “It is also being tracked down by Shadoloo. From everything I have read, you are the leading expert on Shadoloo.†Chun Li clinched her teeth. “Bison.†“I was hoping you could tell me everything you know about Shadoloo and it’s leader, M. Bison. A better understanding of their motivations might shed some light on what this item could be or is capable of,†explained Helena. “Bison is an evil maniac who desires world domination. Through his mastery of Psycho Power his wretched spirit has been able to live on, even when his body has been destroyed!†Helena nodded her head. “Ah, a desire for eternal life, perhaps.†“I do know he has been desperately trying to rebuild Shadoloo to its former glory,†said Chun Li. Helena shrugged. “Usually when I want answers I could just hold a tournament. When all the players are around the truth always comes out. Unfortunately, I only have the ability to summon the Dead or Alive participants, not the King of the Iron Fist fighters which include Kazuya, or participants of the World Warrior tournament which is run by Shadoloo.†“Yeah, when the World Warrior tournament is finished, all the fighters scatter across the globe. Some of them I never see again even at other tournaments. Like Birdie, what a knucklehead, and Karin Kanzuki or...†“Karin Kanzuki participated in the World Warrior tournament?†Chun Li lifted an eyebrow. “She has before, but not in a while. You know her?†“We come from similar social circles. In fact...†Helena flipped through a file in front of her. “There is a girl just like her that participates in the King of the Iron Fist. Ah, here she is, Lili Rochefort. I may not have the power to gather all the fighters together, but I can put together a charity event exhibition match for high society. Who knows who might show up if we give it enough press. It isn’t much, but it’s a start.†“There’s no way I’m going to let Bison get his hands on that item, whatever it is, I’m in,†said Chun Li. “Good. I’ll began making preparations immediately. Meanwhile, I’ll have Zack fly around and see what any of the other DOA fighters know.†---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Asuka Kazama sat with Lili Rochefort in one of the locker rooms at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. “Why are we here?†aksed Asuka. “Why wouldn’t we be here, Asuka. I have an oppurtunity to go out there and show off my moves to thousands of people and at the same time make my family and our company look good by participating in a charity event.†Lili smiled at her friend/rival. “You are here because I want you to have a front row seat to see what you are in for at the next King of The Iron Fist tournament.†Asuka rolled her eyes. In the opponent’s locker room, Karin paced back and forth. “Are you nervous?†asked her friend, Sakura. “Ansy perhaps, but not nervous. I know I can kick her butt. I have wanted to for a long time. She is a prissy little girl pretending to be a martial artist. Self taught, what a joke....†Karin noticed the confused expression on Sakura’s face. “With me it was different.†“I wish you good luck,†said Sakura. “Sweet little Sakura, luck is for commoners, all I need is my skill,†insisted Karin. “Though, I am glad you came. I didn’t want to join another World Warrior tournament until I was sure I could beat you. I think you’ll see tonight just how far I’ve come.†“I can’t wait to see,†said Sakura. A fight official poked his head into the locker room. “Karin Kanzuki, it’s time.â€
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